Drive Review: 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo As It Used To Be
Ahead of an official unveiling at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show, Ferrari has revealed its successor to the 488 GTB. Don’t worry – when I drove to mine and when you buy yours, we will have some help in the form of a remarkably sorted-out car. The F8 Tributo rides on largely the same chassis and suspension as the 488 but with improved electronic controls. While the chassis and suspension are largely carryovers, the engine and aerodynamics are new or at least highly revised.
The mid-engined Ferrari 488 is gracefully, aggressively styled. And available as both the GTB coupe or Spider convertible. It displays an appropriately feisty demeanor, thanks to a 3.9-liter V8 engine that channels 661 horsepower (492 kilowatts) to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. That’s good for a run to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) in about three seconds with a top speed of 205 mph.
As well as the 488 Pista’s tweaked camshaft profiles with more valve lift and duration and more advanced ignition timing, there are unique inlet tract and inlet plenum changes to smooth the F8’s power delivery. A redesigned exhaust manifold and freer-flowing exhaust system have lower back pressure which makes the particulate filter more efficient. And while it might not have the yelping charisma of the old naturally-aspirated V8 in the 2009 458 Italia, the F8’s engine holds a better tune and reacts marginally quicker than rivals such as the Ricardo-designed and -built V8 in McLaren’s series of rival supercars For all that, however, on part throttle openings it drones badly and you’ve really got to rag it to make it sound at all great.
GT and Challenge racing aero learning also influences the F8’s shape. It’s 10% more efficient overall than the 488 GTB. The S-duct that first appeared on the Pista is here, and tidies up the airflow and increases downforce on the front axle. There are brake cooling intakes at the top of the low beam 9012 led headlight bulb apertures, the blown rear spoiler has been reworked and its turning vanes increase downforce without adding drag, and the underbody now features vortex generators. Ferraris are clearly much more technical-looking cars these days, but the company’s design team has become expert in turning what could be unappealing aerodynamic demands into something that looks bang-on.
Not the shortcut key at the top of your keyboard, but Ferrari’s own V8 turbo engine, apparently, a serial winner of International Engine of the Year gongs. Upgrading the ‘entry-level’ £200k V8 to Pista engine spec increases performance by 49bhp over the GTB, and puts Ferrari back on equal terms with the 710bhp McLaren 720S. So displacement still stands at 3.9 liters, but 50 percent of hardware is new, and the engine is 18kg lighter, thanks to parts including titanium con-rods, Inconel manifolds and titanium-aluminum turbo turbine wheels.
There’s little question that Ferrari builds some of the most coveted sports cars on the planet. The company’s founder and namesake, Enzo Ferrari, began his automotive career in 1929 as a sponsor for amateur race car drivers, and 10 years later was put in charge of Alfa Romeo’s racing department. Ferrari left to produce his first racer, the Tipo 815, in 1940, with the first road car to wear the Prancing Horse badge debuting in 1947, the V12-powered 125 S. Headquartered in the northern Italian town of Maranello, Ferrari is of the most successful brands in Formula One racing.
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